For more than forty years, Norm Winer has been one of North America’s most respected and celebrated radio programmers and media strategists, including extended stints as director of programming at WXRT Chicago (1979-2016), CBS Radio VP of Rock format (2003-2009), and prominent roles at ground breaking legendary FM rock outlets in San Francisco (KSAN 1977-79) and Boston (WBCN 1969-77). Norm has earned numerous industry accolades, including Program Director of the Year and Station of the Year, and was named recipient of Chicago’s Fifth Star Award in 2015, the first media figure to be so honored, for contributions to the arts and culture of the City of Chicago. The public presentation in Millennium Park included personal testimonials from U2’s Bono (sharing the revelation that “…if it weren’t for Norm Winer, there would be no U2!”), The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, as well as other musicians and members of Chicago’s arts community. It is perhaps worth noting that this year marks the twentieth anniversary of “Norm Winer Day” being proclaimed in the City of Chicago on July 4, 1996.
As WXRT VP of Programming and brand manager, Norm has collaborated with the City of Chicago (DCASE aka the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and previously with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events) on multiple high profile events, including over thirty Taste of Chicago concerts (1988-2016), the Chicago Blues Festival (since its inception), XRT Rock & Roll Fireworks (1991-2002), Venetian Night (2003-2008), Downtown Sound and other free concerts (e.g., Andrew Bird, Poi Dog Pondering) at Pritzker Pavilion, Bike Chicago, Daley Plaza free concerts (including John Mellencamp with CBS 2), and the Chicago Jazz Festival.
In recent years, Mr. Winer has been an active part of the city’s ChicagoMade delegation, DCASE’s dynamic initiative to promote Chicago’s music, film, and technology industries at South by Southwest in Austin, TX, in collaboration with Choose Chicago and World Business Chicago (2014-2016).
It was at ChicagoFest on Navy Pier in 1980 that Norm co-produced the recording of what became the Grammy Award-nominated Blues Deluxe album, featuring exclusive live performances by Chicago blues immortals, Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon, and others.
Winer has also been Executive Producer of ONXRT charity CDs since 1991, with proceeds benefiting local not-for-profit organizations, including Rock For Kids. With Norm at the helm, the station remained committed to a wide range of meaningful causes: the homeless, the environment, arts/music education, Red Cross disaster funds. He also continually reinforced the station’s dominant position as part of Chicago’s cultural community, with XRT supporting numerous local independently-owned music venues and concert promoters, serving as the official station of Lollapalooza, the Chicago International Film Festival, Chicago Gourmet, The Chicago International Music & Movies Festival (CIMMfest), as well as ongoing association with local museums and other institutions.
Norm’s personal involvement in crafting the unique brand of WXRT Radio through the years enabled the station to maintain an unprecedented relationship with its listeners, clients, and promotional partners. With his recent departure from the station to launch the Winer Idea Group, he is excited about future ventures that will maintain the high standards, sense of ideals, innovation, creativity, and respect for the public that have been the hallmark of his career thus far.